Vince: PM’s plan weakens Britain

I should have actually written it on here, but I reckoned that the number of Cabinet ministers resigning today would be zero. Whether that holds up when they start to get grief from their constituency associations is yet to be seen.

It was always clear that whatever came out of the Chequers summit today would be less than what we have already.

We can’t get as good a deal as we get from being a full member of the European Union. We should be in there shaping hhe EU response to the challenges facing us all whether they be on security or climate change or human rights.

The Brexiteers’ dream that will never die is that we get to crash out with no deal and become a Singapore like tax haven with no employment rights and large corporations ruling roost. There’s nothing like 27 countries working together to get the rich corporates under control – and that’s the last thing the right wing economic libertarians want.

Vince Cable said tonight Britain is worse off as a result of today’s deliberations:

Brexit was supposed to be the vote that ended all Conservative wars, but here we are: two years down the line, a split cabinet with a threadbare agreement that Brussels might reject.

The only reason Brexiters in the cabinet will have agreed to this position is that they trust the EU will reject it, Britain will crash out with no deal and they will blame Brussels.

No one voted for this. The Brexit campaign claimed to be about taking back control- these plans would give Britain less of a say and less control. It would weaken Britain. This makes the need for the people to have the final say on the deal even more crucial.

The Brexiteers keep going on about how they would win by a massive margin if the people voted again. If that were the case, it would be an amazing way to unite the country from their point of view. So why don’t they let it happen?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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31 Comments

  • When the brave Brexiteers and reality clashed there was only going to be one winner and it wasn’t the Brexiteers. I feel we should hug a Brexiteer it can’t be easy running into reality and facts; all your delusions shredded before your eyes, the realisation that your master plan has left the country weaker and divided and it is all your fault. It would take a heart harder than mine not to have some sympathy, to lose as the Chinese say so much face over one decision, it can’t be easy. Still I’d urge you to embrace reality and do not follow the siren voices to blame the EU and the remainers, after all a the plaintiff cry of “This isn’t my type of Brexit” will impress few outside the cult.

  • William Fowler 7th Jul '18 - 8:17am

    Interesting times, Brussels know if they reject the deal then hard brexit will take over (that is the unsaid part of the dialogue and why the Brexiteers have not walked yet), again Mrs May’s apparent weakness actually working for her. Meanwhile, Labour hint they might support a second vote. And yet the LibDems have not come up with any reforms that might make that second vote work for staying in… come on, chaps, do something!

  • Graham Jeffs 7th Jul '18 - 8:41am

    William Fowler – you are absolutely right! No point us going for the same old re-hash!

  • Peter Davies 7th Jul '18 - 10:09am

    As far as I can see, It’s a very good deal for the EU. It works only if our tariffs are lower than theirs. Other countries would only need to negotiate an EU deal and our tariffs on their imports would come down without any need to reduce their tariffs on ours. We would need to comply with all European standards without any say in setting them allowing ample scope for non tariff barriers and although we would need a hard border, it would only be in one direction. Our exports to them would be obstructed and theirs to us would not.,

  • nigel hunter 7th Jul '18 - 10:15am

    A thought. May proposes that we stay close to the EU on manufacturing etc but allows the financial market a free hand. This allows the Brexit millionaires to continue making money on the open market.A compromise to be sold to keep the Tories together. What the EU will make of it is another question.

  • @William Fowler
    There is only one area which needs to be reformed. Of the ‘Mindless Mantra’ of taking back control of our money, our borders and our laws, the only one that has any degree of credibility is the issue of freedom of movement.
    Taking back control of our money; double speak for having more of it ourselves and it is obvious that we will have less if we leave the EU.
    Taking back control of our laws; please can the Brexiteers tell us what laws we are talking about that are so onerous.
    Taking back control of borders; This is the real issue and we are not the only country to have real reservations on this.
    If the LibDems and remain organisations can put together a policy to address this and somehow managed to get a second vote I suspect this will be enough to reverse the result. Suspect I’m whistling in the dark but the Unite vote and Labour’s reaction to the white paper may just turn the tide on the second vote issue.

  • John Marriott 7th Jul '18 - 11:29am

    Spot on, ‘P.J.’, it IS freedom of movement. The only difference between us and most of the other EU members is that, being inhabitants of islands, we feel the problem more acutely than those countries, whose borders have been fluid for centuries. That doesn’t mean that they are not concerned as well – witness the rise in support for nationalist parties in countries where the concept of democracy is deeply embedded and others where its roots have yet to grow significantly.

    I can’t quote you chapter and verse like some more erudit LDV contributors; but my gut feeling has always been that the EU project has for decades been influenced, as far as the federalist enthusiasts (nearly called them zealots) are concerned, by geopolitical rather than economic considerations.

    You can keep the geopolitical; but, whether you like it or not, you can’t really ignore the economic. Surely the writing was on the wall for the U.K. as a world power by the way Stalin and Roosevelt treated Churchill at Teheran and Yalta. If not then, what about the Suez ‘adventure’? The trouble is that France also still has pretentions of grandeur, witness the posturing of De Gaulle in the 1960s and the new ‘Napoleon’, M Macron, today.

    Of course we would survive outside the EU; but, unless things change radically (and who knows with Trump trying to pull the strings) it would be survival and probably not much more. If that’s what the 52% still want, so be it. ‘Cake and eat it’? Life just doesn’t work like that!

  • The reform package that we could put together looks like this: keep all benefits of membership, apply same rules on free movement as every other country (registration, no benefits without contributions), define and measure immigration and emigration properly with free movement clearly separated, Cabinet to have Minister for Europe responsible for all ongoing negotiations and proposing all new legislation related to EU membership for parliamentary scrutiny and approval, keep all 60+ free trade deals that we currently have, reduce barriers to intra-EU free trade in services. And blue passports.

  • Peter Martin 7th Jul '18 - 12:34pm

    “There’s ……”

    And the EU is indeed “nothing like 27 countries working together to get the rich corporates under control”. If so, how is it that eBay are allowed to divert UK VAT collection to Luxembourg? How is it that the invoice trail of Apple iphones and computers etc made in China, shipped directly to the UK and sold in the UK passes through Ireland? Would these be anything to do with tax avoidance? These aren’t new problems. Years pass by and nothing is done about them. Its all legal under EU law.

    Luxembourg under the premiership of one JC Juncker had turned into a major European centre of corporate tax avoidance. With the aid of the Luxembourg government, companies transferred tax liability for many billions of euros to Luxembourg, where the income was taxed at a fraction of 1%.

    By all means lets tackle tax avoidance and corporate crime but lets not be under any illusions that we’ll get any help from the EU. Iceland (pop 300,000) has a much better record in this respect. You don’t have to be big to fight corporate crime. Sometimes small and nimble (and more in-line with core Lib Dem beliefs?) is much better.

  • Nigel Jones 7th Jul '18 - 1:06pm

    I agree with P.J. that something needs to be said by us about freedom of movement; I suggest it becomes freedom of labour, since one of the main underlying gut feelings that led to the Ukip campaign was lack of legal restrictions on movement of people that could be transparently enforced.
    Peter Martin: I’m sure Caron means that within the EU we could be doing more about big international corporations than we can on our own. However, that assumes we as a nation want to do that. Was it not the EU that wanted to impose restrictions on bonuses for corporate chiefs, but Osbourne refused to agree ? Was it not the EU that wanted to do something about China dumping cheap steel, but it was our own government that would not cooperate ? Many times did my Lib-Dem MEP tell me how liberals in the EU parliament fought for reforms of regulations, but our Labour and Tory MEPs refused to help.
    Part of the right-wing argument in my local paper against the EU was to blame them for harmful regulations, when in fact the blame lay with our own political parties.

  • Bless Peter so the EU isn’t perfect, not a shock to those that don’t live in a black and white world. The EU is the nearest in distance and the closest too white of all the trade blocks and being in a trade block is becoming a necessity. Now you where told Brexit would be a world of pain but you didn’t believe the warning you knew best. Now the pain is setting in and all your assumptions about it being a walk in the park (some park must be in Gotham) have turned to dust all we get is look how bad the EU is. You have turned into the ex-husband living over a kebab shop telling all his mates in Wetherspoons how evil his ex is and how it isn’t right she got the House and dog; tis sad but true.

  • Peter Martin 7th Jul '18 - 1:25pm

    I’m just wondering where we’re up to with all this? Mrs May has managed to cobble together some sort of compromise that no-one seems to like. It looks like she had to resort to keeping everyone up well past their normal bedtimes at Chequers. Get everyone tired enough and they’ll sign anything just so they can get some sleep! A old but effective tactic!

    The Leavers are now in the odd position of hoping that the EU can succeed , where they have failed, in scuppering the deal. Everyone thinks that’s a real possibility.

    Remainers are still hanging to the idea that no deal is likely to be better than the one we had before the Art50 letter was sent off to Brussels. Not that there are many Remainers who are that enthusiastic about the EU per se. Euro and Schengen membership are clearly out of the question except perhaps with the Ultras of the Remain campaign. Nearly everyone, apart from perhaps Arnold Kiel, thinks the EU needs reform. And if we aren’t members how can we expect to reform it? That’s a good question. Arnold himself has perhaps the best answer when he asks ” Which are the EU reforms you, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Germany, and France will agree on?” .

    That’s a good question, too, and I must admit I can’t think of a single one! Except perhaps, in the light of EU teams, except Germany, Holland and Italy 😉 , doing well in this World Cup, they might all agree to ask FIFA for an extra slot next time, in 2022 !

    Where is it all going to lead? Interesting times!

  • Peter Martin 7th Jul '18 - 1:42pm

    @ Frankie,

    I didn’t believe it would be “a walk in the park”. Actually I think leaving the EU, if we actually do it for real, could actually be pretty bad especially if the right wing of the Tory party get their way which is a real possibility.

    The thing is: Staying in the EU is likely to be much worse once the euro blows up.

    Mark Blyth, who, to his credit, sounds more like a football manager than an economist, summed in all up very well a couple of years ago and nothing much has changed since.

  • Mrs May is where she is because Brexit ment something different to everyone who voted for it. It is therefore impossible to achieve a Brexit that meets all but the smallest minorities desires. Now I rather doubt she cares what the majority of Brexiteers want, she will hope and assume they will have moved on and grown bored with Brexit. She does however have to keep the Tories together and her pay masters onside, hence for two years she has achieved nothing but by achieving that she has kept her party afloat in government. Now however her pay masters are starting to shout we are going over the cliff, she has therefore been forced to knock a few heads together and put out a bowl of fudge. It is unlikely to work, the contridictons of Brexit, the Tories parties and EU’s inability to digest fudge means we are likely to engulfed in a storm of vomit.

  • I too assume this plan will be rejected by the EU. But if it isn’t – how the hell does it work in practice?

    Say my company imports parts and materials from outside the EU, and then processes them into other things (all containing variable percentages of non-EU content). Then I sell some of those things in the UK, and export others to the EU. Also assume that during my production, some of the imported stuff ends up as waste or scrap and doesn’t get sold to anyone.

    Then add the complication that I might sell to a distributor who also sells some things in the UK and also exports some to the EU.

    Who on earth is going to keep track of all of this with regards to what HMRC refunds I can claim?

    The answer will of course be me, somehow. And heaven forbid I get it wrong when the HMRC auditors descend. So thanks Theresa – f**k business indeed.

    Huge opportunity for criminals from a fraud point of view though……

  • Peter I get you are afraid the EU will implode, but if it does in or out we still get spattered; unless you can find away to move the UK physically. Just leaving the EU can’t change our geography or our largest market. By the way if the present economic rules don’t work they will just change them, they are not the laws of physics just man made assumptions.

  • William Fowler 7th Jul '18 - 4:29pm

    On freedom of movement (already suggested the solution in an op-ed), one of the problems of being an english speaking nation is that it is very attractive to dispossessed refugees who make their way to Europe who can already speak some of our lingo. Hence when Mrs Merkel takes in a million there is the immediate thought that they will end up over here as soon as they can (and that million soon becomes five million when they bring family members over or have kids). And that adds up to some interesting social housing problems with yet more youngsters who can’t compete with families sleeping rough etc. You can almost feel the rage simmering, so do not underestimate the effect of freedom of movement. The UK has to become very unattractive to unskilled foreigners if you want to win a second vote.

  • Peter Martin 7th Jul '18 - 6:15pm

    Freedom of movement …… is in reality a non-issue ???

    I would argue that there are better reasons for voting Leave than on the question of migration. However, I have to admit that had migration levels been less asymmetric there would have been an easy win for Remain. So, anyone who can possibly think it’s a non issue must have their head stuck in a strange place! Somewhere the sun doesn’t shine – that’s for sure.

    We have a situation in the EU where the country with the biggest economy is determined to run a huge surplus but everyone else, bar the UK, is prohibited from running the necessary balancing deficits because of the SGP rules. The only option is for most EU countries to contract their economies. Naturally the workers from these contracting economies will be looking for somewhere else to live.

    We’ve had workers in the UK with their own wages being squeezed by austerity economics having to compete with EU workers who have moved because their wages too have been squeezed. They’ve possibly been squeezed to zero as they’d no job at all.

    Of course UK workers understand the macroeconomics of all this and don’t feel the slightest resentments against the new arrivals? Unfortunately not!

    And the so-called progressive centre left, which daren’t issue a word of criticism for the EU, then wonders why there’s been a vote for Brexit!

    Well, I have to say it’s all your own fault for being so out of touch! Not to say stupid!

  • nvelope2003 7th Jul '18 - 9:12pm

    Arnold Kiel: What is the evidence for the last sentence in your post at 8.05 pm on 7th July 2018 and who produced it ?

  • Peter Martin 7th Jul '18 - 10:29pm

    “The theory that immigrants displace locals or depress their incomes has been objectively disproven.”

    By whom? Let’s think about this. Suppose we do have an increase in population. If GDP rises by the same proportion as the population increase then this could be true arithmetically. We need Government to spending the same percentage more on health and teachers etc. Possibly housing too.

    So that extra spending has to come from somewhere. Theoretically that’s not a problem if Govt deficit spends into the economy. Having greater resources in the economy means the Government’s deficit spending can create the extra demand to create a larger economy. The alternative to deficit spending is to get more money into the economy from exports. But that would mean cheapening the currency. In any case we can’t all be Germany and export more than we import.

    The problem arises, as we’ve seen ourselves with our own eyes, when there’s an increase in population at the same time as Government is squeezing the economy with the application of austerity economics. GDP doesn’t grow and if the population is higher then it follows that everyone is worse off. Everyone gets pissed off too. Hence they start to blame immigrants and vote for far right parties.

    The question of migration is linked to the question of depopulation in Eastern Europe and other areas of high unemployment. It is simply in no-ones interest to allow depopulation to occur on the scale it has in the EU.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-20/europe-s-depopulation-time-bomb-is-ticking-in-the-baltics

  • Peter Martin 7th Jul '18 - 10:30pm

    “The theory that immigrants displace locals or depress their incomes has been objectively disproven.”

    By whom? Let’s think about this. Suppose we do have an increase in population. If GDP rises by the same proportion as the population increase then this could be true arithmetically. We need Government to spending the same percentage more on health and teachers etc. Possibly housing too.

    So that extra spending has to come from somewhere. Theoretically that’s not a problem if Govt deficit spends into the economy. Having greater resources in the economy means the Government’s deficit spending can create the extra demand to create a larger economy. The alternative to deficit spending is to get more money into the economy from exports. But that would mean cheapening the currency. In any case we can’t all be Germany and export more than we import.

    The problem arises, as we’ve seen ourselves with our own eyes, when there’s an increase in population at the same time as Government is squeezing the economy with the application of austerity economics. GDP doesn’t grow and if the population is higher then it follows that everyone is worse off. Everyone gets pi**ed off too. Hence they start to blame immigrants and vote for far right parties.

    The question of migration is linked to the question of depopulation in Eastern Europe and other areas of high unemployment. It is simply in no-ones interest to allow depopulation to occur on the scale it has in the EU.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-20/europe-s-depopulation-time-bomb-is-ticking-in-the-baltics

  • William Fowler 8th Jul '18 - 7:16am

    LibDem policy is to stay in EU, to win a second vote LibDems need to come up with a policy that deals with freedom of movement… it ain’t rocket science!

  • Philip Knowles 8th Jul '18 - 8:57am

    Freedom of movement has been solved within the EU by the likes of Belgium and we could do the same.
    Unfortunately, it is the issue of non-EU immigration (which we have total contol of – but don’t) which those of us who campaigned for Remain encountered. We were constantly harangued about people voting Leave to send the ‘f****** P**** back’. The P isn’t Poles but an Asian group. This was in rural North Yorkshire which doesn’t really have many immigrants of any type.
    The xenophobia whipped up by the likes of the Daily Mail and Sun affects people that reality doesn’t match up to. We need to heal that rift. For the last 40 years successive governments have been blaming the EU for ills caused by themselves. The tabloid press have been blaming immigrants for problems largely caused by ourselves (from Windrush onwards immigrants hsve been taking jobs WE don’t eant to do)
    Out motto is Open, Tolerant, United. Our country is anything but at the moment and it despertely needs to be.

  • nvelope2003 8th Jul '18 - 7:45pm

    Philip Knowles: And why do you think we do not want to do those jobs ?

  • Brexit Secretary David Davis has resigned saying “the current trend of policy and tactics” was making it “look less and less likely” that the UK would leave the customs union and single market.
    Michael Gove is being touted as possible replacement after urging MPs to support the Prime Ministers plans.

  • Philip Knowles 9th Jul '18 - 7:01am

    Nvelope2003
    The honest answer is because we have lost the work ethic and have done for 50 years. 40 years ago I was working in a factory making Cadbury’s Smash. I was at the end of the production line and had to pack the Smash in 170kg drums. It was a boring job so I set myself a target of 100 drums a shift.
    After a few weeks the Shift Manager asked me how come I could manage 100 when everyone else was only doing 60? I said that I set myself a target. He thanked me because it increased his bonus but didn’t really understand.
    A few days later I was told by the Shop Steward to stop it because I was threatening jobs – all the other shifts had two people doing the job. I left and the factory closed within two years. Since then I’ve encountered people who do the bare minimum in everywhere I’ve worked. That percentage has increased over the years. MacGregor talked about Type X and Y workers. We are becoming a nation of Type X.

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